Keegan hails new spirit at Newcastle

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The Independent Football

An upbeat Kevin Keegan yesterday talked of new-found harmony at the top of Newcastle United and about his improved relationship with owner Mike Ashley. This had been in doubt from the moment Keegan said Newcastle were "miles off" the top four following May's home defeat against Chelsea. Those remarks resulted in Keegan and Ashley meeting in London, along with head of recruitment Dennis Wise.

Is everyone at the club pulling in the same direction, Keegan was asked. "Yeah, 100 per cent," he replied, "despite what we tend to read. I do not think we have ever been closer than we are now.

"Mike Ashley has come out and said in his own words how he sees the club, where he is with the club and that was a good thing to do because it stopped all this, 'Well, he's thinking of selling.'"

Talking of May, Keegan added: "I think we are a long way from there now. We all understand our roles. We all understand what each other's brief is and what each of us brings to the club. That is a good thing. We are never going to agree on everything, six or seven guys in a room talking about football, but the important thing is when we don't agree, it stays in the room."

Keegan was finally able to unveil Fabricio Coloccini, 26, who has joined from Deportivo La Coruña on a five-year contract for a sum believed to be £9.1m. Keegan said that he would have no fear about giving a debut tomorrow at Old Trafford to the Argentinian international.

Keegan said that he would be resisting Aston Villa's efforts to sign James Milner, saying that Milner was one of the players Ashley is determined to keep. But Newcastle have agreed a fee with Stoke City for Abdoulaye Faye and have given Shola Ameobi permission to speak to Ipswich.